Tuesday evening’s game at the Amex Stadium sees play-off chasing Brighton and Hove Albion host a Derby County side who themselves have an outside chance of making the top six.
Three wins from the last four games have seen the Rams move into the top half on 52 points, just seven behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough with nine games left to play.
Brighton’s 3-1 defeat at Blackpool last time out was their first league loss of 2012. Their unbeaten home run stretches back to before Christmas, when Burnley became only the third visiting team to take all three points from the Amex.
In fact, only league leaders Southampton and fourth-placed Birmingham City have lost fewer times in front of their own fans than the Seagulls.
With this in mind, it is perhaps no surprise that they are odds-on favourites to win this game at 3/4. Derby are priced at 18/5, with the draw at 12/5.
However, the Rams will be full of confidence following battling victories over local rivals Nottingham Forest and then Doncaster Rovers in their last two outings and at 9/5, they are a good bet to take the lead in this match.
But with the home side so difficult to beat and with four of Brighton’s last five goals coming in the last 20 minutes of the game, you might be tempted to back Derby to be leading at the break, with the game finishing all square at 29/2.
Punters who use their free £25 bet will see a return of £337.50 if they correctly back the game to be played out in that manner.
However, the safer play is to place your money on the draw at 11/5 – a result which would be no surprise considering Derby’s recent upturn in form and the Seagulls’ strength on their own patch.
Recommended bet: Brighton and Derby to draw @ 11/5
Outside punt: Derby/Draw in the half-time/full-time market @ 29/2
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